Each Leadership Development Academy of Rock County participant works with a small group of their fellow class members to plan and execute a collaborative project that addresses a community need. These projects and their results are presented each May and serve as the program's capstone experience.
Janesville Urban Forestry League
Unite multiple groups currently working independently in the care of Janesville’s urban forest. Create more community awareness and help establish a sense of urgency to take action in Rock County, particularly the City of Janesville, relative to Emerald Ash Borer. In October 2014, we identified Janesville’s Emerald Ash Borer issue as a potential project. We gathered names of community members involved in some way through their job and scheduled meetings and interviews. Through this process of information gathering, we began to understand the depth of this issue for the community, identified some of the obstacles, and quickly saw that there isn’t a magic solution. We observed that there are many community members and groups with a lot of knowledge, skill, and talent working independently on this issue. The more we investigated, the more we realized the goal of our project should be to create a framework for a larger group that would encompass all of this talent. We didn’t want to disrupt the integrity of the existing groups; instead we wanted to help alleviate some of the workload they each carry. We created a plan to culminate our efforts with a Meet and Greet for all the prospective Charter Members of the Janesville Urban Forestry League. We also invited Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag, LDA instructor Russell Lindquist, and Parks Director Cullen Slapak. This gathering was an opportunity for us to thank each of the groups and individuals for participating in our LDA project and for showing enthusiasm for our proposal.